The AARP New American Diet

The AARP is normally associated with seniors’ discounts at restaurants and theaters, and not so much for
trendy diets. With the release of the New American Diet, all that has changed. This diet claims that you can lose 10 pounds in two weeks. And no, you don’t have to retire first.

The AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives. That’s directly from the AARP. Years ago, AARP actually stood for the American Association for Retired People, but that was before retirement ran off into the distance and we resigned ourselves to a future that didn't include retirement.

The AARP Diet (or New American Diet, although the diet isn't really aimed at NEW Americans so much) was written by Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Expert for the Discovery Channel. The diet shares a lot with the Mediterranean Diet, which has enjoyed praise from many over the years.

The AARP New American Diet is based on twelve precepts for success. Some tips are obvious and easy, others less so. My favorite is the first: get enough sleep. This is based on research that found that people who regularly slept less than six hours a night were 25% more likely to become obese. Getting enough sleep means that you have enough energy throughout your day to burn off those calories that lurk in every bite.

Success factor number two: eat breakfast. Don’t skip this important meal. This gets your metabolism running, fuels your morning, and provides enough energy that you won’t gorge yourself come lunchtime.

Success tip three is a bit counter-intuitive  eat more often. Modern life is structured around three (or maybe two) meals a day. If you spread you calorie intake over more, smaller meals you tend to eat less overall. You also avoid hunger pangs and approach each small meal without feeling famished.

Factor four makes sense: take it slow. That is, eat more slowly. This gives your body plenty of time to react to those calories you’re swallowing. You feel full before you over eat. Drink a glass of water before the meal and at least one more during your meal. These tactics alone can cut your calorie intake significantly.

Tip number five is a personal favorite: drink coffee. This is not to be confused with the trendy Green Coffee Bean Extract Diet. This is simply drinking black coffee. Drinking two cups of coffee a day will boost your metabolism, letting you burn calories faster.

Success factor six is easy: just chew some gum. Choose sugar-free gum, of course, but the chewing will keep your digestive system perking along and help you feel full at the same time. Just remember to bring enough for everyone.

Tip number seven fits in with tip number three: snack at work. Bring something light and nutrition for those mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps. This keeps your insulin and blood sugar levels even and avoids those cravings that can be the death of many diet plans.

Success factor eight is quite popular: eat dark chocolate! Yes, dark chocolate contains a lot of healthy bits, including a great cough suppression side-effect, but it also provides antioxidants and flavanols. Just eat a quarter ounce a day, not the entire bar!

Tip number nine makes a lot of sense: walk more. Walking has so many positive health effects that it just makes sense to strive for 10,000 steps a day. Get a  walking buddy or at least a pedometer and challenge yourself to reach that 10,000 mark every day. A half hour walk three days a week can do wonders for your health and happiness.

Success factor ten ties back to number four: drink water. Water is a key part of our metabolic cycle, and diet sodas just don’t compare.  Keep a BPA-free water bottle with you all day. Your body will thank you.

Success tip number eleven is a bit surprising: eat at a table. It turns out that eating at a table will cause you to eat less without you even thinking about it. For extra benefits, find smaller plates. That will subconsciously guide you to smaller servings, ergo fewer calories.

Success factor twelve can be hard: weight yourself. Nobody likes to get negative feedback, so we can come up with some really creative reasons to avoid that nasty scale. But without some progress tracking, our diet can drift away like a bad dream. Don’t weigh yourself every day, though, because your weight will fluctuate a bit and this minor weight loss then gain cycle can be a demotivating factor. Weigh yourself at the same time of day every week to eliminate as many random variables as possible. Celebrate the pounds lost and blame the minor setbacks on scale malfunctions!

Following these twelve tips for success, plus the other ideas and recipes in the New American Diet book, can get you back on a healthy and long-lived path. Maybe you can't retire this year, but you can certainly take a vacation from that belly bulge!

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